|In this issue:
-Mining the Chestatee
-Back to Main Street: The Rise and Fall of the Shopping Mall
-Tax Program Highlight: 1030 & 1035 Elm Street, Macon
-ER Case Study: Dalton's Covenant Bank and Trust
-Updates to HPD's Consultants Directory
-Staff Profiles: Dr. David Crass
A deck-mounted iron sheave, part of Loud and Company’s diving bell lifting apparatus, as it appeared on the sunken mining barge in 2011. Photo by Stephen Collins.
Late in 2009, HPD Division Director & State Archaeologist Dr. David Crass and Deputy State Archaeologist Chris McCabe visited Dahlonega to examine a unique 1875 iron diving bell recovered from the Chestatee River many years earlier (see "A Grand Curiosity" in Preservation Posts, October 2009). The former underwater gold mining bell once owned by Philologus Hawkins Loud and the Loud Mining Company sat idle, largely unnoticed for decades, and little was known about it at the time. Since then, researchers and dedicated residents have gathered detailed historical information, conservation and restoration funding, and widespread interest in order to preserve and ultimately display the one-of-a-kind artifact at Hancock Park in Dahlonega. Their continuing efforts are supported by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources through a mutual agreement which includes archaeological assistance to better understand and document the diving bell’s former support vessel, which sank under mysterious conditions in October 1876 and still lies submerged and buried on the river bottom.
In autumn 2011, Georgia underwater archaeologists Chris McCabe and Stephen Dilk began their underwater assessment of the historic wooden mining barge after meeting with local researchers and supporters Anne Amerson, Chris Worick, Manny Carvalho, Walt Garlinghouse, Stephen Collins, and others. The information and support provided during the visit and subsequent underwater survey were excellent. Those involved in the project take their preservation commitment seriously and are dedicated to accurate historical documentation, proper conservation, and widespread outreach.
The former mining vessel lies embedded longitudinally in the river bottom at an athwartship (nautical term meaning from one side of the ship to the other at right angles to the keel) angle of approximately 15 degrees between a high undercut bank and the river’s center channel. Before recording could begin, riverside property owner "Achasta by Reynolds" and visiting diver Bill Waldrop removed a tree stump obstruction from the riverbank and conducted a marine magnetometer sweep around the wreck. No ferrous (containing iron) anomalies were observed downstream of the vessel, however, two targets were detected within 20 meters of the upstream end perhaps indicating objects such as anchor tackle or disarticulated iron machinery. Further analysis is required to determine if the targets are associated with the sunken barge.
When HPD divers arrived they used a low-volume handheld suction dredge to sift material through a floating screen-sieve in order to clear overburden and check for possible isolated cultural material from the southern end of the wreck (none were observed). In addition to documenting portions of the wrecksite over the near-term, the underwater team hopes to help answer some fundamental questions about vessel remains and diving bell operations through analyses of ship-construction methods and residual deck-mounted machinery. Other more in-depth questions concern site formation processes and possibly recovering evidence relating to the mysterious sinking event.
As underwater mapping began, approximately one-quarter of the wreck was exposed above the river bottom in about six to 12 feet of water. Water levels, current, visibility, and sedimentation can fluctuate greatly in a relatively short period of time depending upon weather and other local conditions. During the course of only one day, water levels rose over a foot, decreasing visibility from better than three feet to nearly zero, making on-site mapping operations a challenge. Since creating an underwater grid system was impractical, divers mapped areas of the wreck along a measured baseline and via trilateral control points and then married the figures and illustrations together on the surface and back at the lab. Even though preliminary underwater data were less than expected due to heavy sedimentation and limited time onsite, a plan of the submerged wreck is beginning to emerge. The shape and size show it to be similar to other shallow-draft rectangular river barges of the period; however a large open well of tightly-placed vertical wooden planking through the hull along sizeable longitudinal stringers and cross members confirm it was no ordinary flatboat. Wood sample analyses of deck planking indicate it was fabricated from Pinus Echinata (shortleaf pine) in the Southern Yellow Pine group, a regional species prevalent in the Southeast, pointing to regional, and very likely local, construction materials (interior frame samples have yet to be taken). The well’s dimensions correspond directly to the footprint of the diving bell (just slightly larger) indicating the suspended iron submersible was designed to deploy through the well to the river bottom where miners inside would dig for ore; an endeavor not for the faint of heart.
Adjacent to the well are the remains of deck-mounted hoisting machinery consisting of iron gear wheels, pawls, crankshafts, and vertical sheaves. What this vessel may have lacked in maneuverability and aesthetics was more than made up for with strength, stability, and commercial intent. A complete representation of the bell’s operational lifting arrangement is provisional at present, but work is continuing and plans are being made to return to diving in the spring or early summer (note: at the time of this writing the river bottom has reclaimed the site, concealing the wreck from view). While the vessel’s fundamental design and construction materials may resemble other flat-hulled river barges, the uniqueness of this craft’s central open-well design (for deployment of the diving bell), general purpose (to mine for underwater gold), and location (the mountains of North Georgia) distinguish it from any other 19th-century working river craft. More information can be found at the Lumpkin County Historical Society's webpage and in future issues of Preservations Posts.
Back to Main Street: The Rise and Fall of the Shopping Mall
By Lynn Speno, National Register Specialist
Downtown Rock Hill, SC in 1977 (left - photo by Andy Burris, Herald) and present day (right).
According to a recent Washington Post article by Jonathan O’Connell published this past November, shopping malls (enclosed retail centers) are outdated. There have been only a couple of malls built in recent years and many owners are thinking of revamping their existing malls to make them look like more of a "Main Street." According to O’Connell, some developers have plans to take the roof off of their malls; others plan to tear their malls down and replace them with an outdoor town center concept.
It is interesting to look at the rise and fall of shopping centers/malls as they relate to historic downtown commercial centers. Tied to the rise of the suburbs in the postwar era and the fascination with the automobile, what Americans refer to as a shopping mall is usually a large, enclosed, climate-controlled shopping area with several doors opening to a huge parking lot. Malls are generally located some distance from the historic center of downtown. These malls, as well as strip shopping centers, rose to prominence in this country in the mid-20th century and often meant the demise for downtown shopping in many cities.
In an effort to become more "mall-like," at least two cities in the South attempted to transform part of their historic commercial storefronts into a mall. One of these was Rock Hill, South Carolina. Called the TownCenter Mall, this attempt at enclosing a portion of a downtown street occurred in 1977 to compete with several newly constructed malls situated on the outskirts of Rock Hill. The TownCenter Mall did encourage some adjacent downtown construction and renovation of existing buildings, but failed to bring in enough revenue to sustain the businesses. By 1992 it was clear that this concept was not going to work and efforts began to remove the roof and reopen Main Street. Luckily, the storefronts were intact under the 1977 enclosure. New owners bought the buildings and opened new retail stores, restaurants, and business offices in the historic commercial spaces. Today Main Street reflects its historic origins with rehabilitated storefronts.
A similar story closer to home occurred in Toccoa, Georgia. By the early 1970s, the downtown business district faced the loss of businesses as retail shops left downtown Toccoa for the suburbs and new shopping areas located on Highway 17, east of the downtown core. To counteract the business deficits, Toccoa’s leaders promoted a novel idea that they hoped would attract customers to shop downtown. A flyer from the early 1970s promoted the idea of a downtown shopping mall created by canopies overhanging the storefronts, which would create walkable shopping similar to the malls that were pulling shoppers from the downtown district. The flyer declared that there was "No Time For Delay" and featured a photo of a downtown street in 1966 with an artist’s conceptual drawing of the street with a canopied mall. The idea caught hold and work soon began on the central business district. Concrete canopies were installed on Doyle Street from Alexander to Pond streets and on Sage Street from Tugalo to Foreacre streets. The project was completed in 1972 at a cost of $1.8 million. Rather than reviving the downtown business district, the canopied mall had the opposite effect. While the canopies attracted recreational walkers, the result for downtown businesses was calamitous and profound. Downtown Toccoa suddenly became an ineffectual location for shopping. In the ensuing years, the mall deteriorated to the point that walkers often had to dodge pieces of concrete falling from the overhanging canopy.
In 2007 the canopies were removed and the downtown returned to its original configuration. The removal of the canopies has opened the city’s downtown commercial center to new life. Many of the buildings have rehabilitated storefronts and plans for other buildings are underway. Downtown Toccoa was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places and it is hoped that owners will take advantage of the tax credits for rehabilitation that are available to properties listed in the National Register.
So, what is the lesson here? It seems that preservationists were right all along in their quest to preserve Main Street. Walkable city centers have been around since communities began developing, making them a tried and true means of commerce. While fads may come and go, it is often hard to improve upon a good idea. The human scale of historic downtown streets, their vibrancy, and compactness make them places where people like to congregate and socialize, and where local businesses can thrive.
Tax Program Highlight: 1030 & 1035 Elm Street, Macon (Bibb County)
By Beth Gibson, Preservation Architect
1030 Elm Street, Macon, before (top) and after (bottom) rehabilitation.
1035 Elm Street, Macon, before (top) and after (bottom) rehabilitation.
Although across the street from one another and both built in 1900, these two houses are actually in different historic districts. 1035 Elm Street is a contributing property in the Macon Historic District, which was listed in the National Register
in 1974. 1030 Elm Street is a contributing property in the Tindall Heights Historic District, which was listed in the Register in 1993. Both houses were recently rehabilitated by the Historic Macon Foundation as single family residences. 1035 Elm Street has 1,450 square feet and the overall project cost was about $115,000. 1030 Elm Street has 2,135 square feet and cost approximately $95,000 to rehabilitate. Each house has two bedrooms and two baths. Both projects qualified for Georgia’s tax programs for rehabilitated historic property: the State Preferential Property Tax Assessment Program and the State Income Tax Credit Program
ER Case study - Dalton's Covenant Bank and Trust
By Melina Vasquez, Historic Program Assistant
Front elevation renderings of the 220 Hamilton Street rehabilitation before (top) and after (bottom) consultation.
When a state-chartered bank applies to the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) to establish a new branch, compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 is required. The contributing property located at 220 Hamilton Street in the National Register-listed Dalton Commercial Historic District was purchased by Covenant Bank & Trust with the intent of opening a new bank branch. Consultation with HPD for this project began in May 2007. Opening the new branch required rehabilitating the property, initiating the Section 106 review process to determine the impact of the project on historic properties located within its area of potential effects. HPD reviewed the proposal and determined that the proposed exterior alterations would result in an adverse effect to the historic district. Because the exterior had been altered previously and was not original historic fabric, compatibility to the district was the measure in determining the adverse effect of the proposed renovation.
The building is located on a corner, facing both Hamilton Street and Cuyler Street, so two façades needed to be considered. Initially, the proposal included major changes to the Hamilton Street elevation. The existing façade, a modest triple-bay storefront with transoms and an inset brick panel in the upper façade area, was to be replaced with a proposed ornate façade that included a columned entrance and flanking pediment windows.
For the Cuyler Street elevation, the bank initially proposed breaking up the continuous wall to create an opening for access that would resemble the Hamilton Street elevation as well as one additional opening.
In the Section 106 process, when projects are found to have an adverse effect, alternatives need to be considered that avoid, minimize, or mitigate the adverse effect. The bank considered alternative designs to avoid the adverse effect. Through contact and consultation with HPD staff, the bank prepared revised plans that proposed a simpler design facing Hamilton Street that was more compatible with other nearby contributing properties in the district.
The revised design included removing the existing paint to repair and then repaint the brick. The triple-bay storefront retained the two end bays; the middle bay was altered to create a main entrance.
Based on the revised plans, HPD determined that the project would no longer have an adverse effect to the property. The bank was able to move forward with their project and their commitment to downtown Dalton.
More information on Review & Compliance and other Section 106 case studies are available on our website.
Updates to HPD’s Consultants Directory
By Hellen Harris, Office Administrative Generalist
In October of last year, HPD began a scheduled update to the Consultants Directory on our website. At the beginning of the update, 62 consultants were listed in the Directory. Responses from consultants revealed that a few were no longer in business; some had few or no changes to their listing, while others had broadened their areas of professional expertise and applied for additional approvals; and some did not respond or express a desire to continue their listing and have been removed. Scheduled updates to consultants’ listings will be completed this month and applied to the Directory on the website.
HPD routinely receives calls from the public requesting information or names of consultants that have professional expertise in the preservation of historic buildings, sites and cultural resources. As a service to the public and to the consultants, inquiries are referred to the Consultants Directory on HPD’s website.
Consultants listed in the Directory are design and preservation professionals with interest and experience in dealing with historic, archaeological, and cultural resources. Entities were placed on the Directory listings after submitting applications and information with proof of their professional expertise and qualifications. The applications and information were reviewed by HPD’s team of reviewers to determine the consultants' qualifications as defined by the Secretary of Interior. However, there is no implicit or implied representation that any work or products created by those listed in the Directory will meet federal or state requirements. In addition, inclusion in the Directory does not represent an endorsement, recommendation, evaluation, or assumption of responsibility by the Historic Preservation Division for the quality of work done by any of the consultants.
More information regarding consultants’ listings and the procedure on how to be listed in the Consultants Directory can be found on HPD’s website.
Dr. David Crass, Division Director & State Archaeologist
Dr. Crass visits Navajo weaver Susie Yazzie in her hogan in Monument Valley, AZ.
Dave is a 14-year veteran of DNR. Prior to his DNR service, he was a Research Archaeologist for the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. He holds a B.A. Cum Laude with Honors from Wake Forest University, an M.A. from The College of William and Mary in Virginia, and his Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University, where he held a staff position as Curator of Collections. He is a graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership and has worked in the areas of marine safety and public affairs in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. Dave has conducted terrestrial archaeological research in Northern Ireland, Mexico, the American Southwest, and the Southeastern seaboard states, and underwater archaeological research in Georgia's rivers and coastal waters. Dave is active in policy issues at the state, regional, and national levels. Since assuming the Directorship in 2009, Dave has reorganized the division to emphasize economic development assistance, stronger support of local communities, and efficient execution of federal and state responsibilities.
What do you do on a typical day?
As division director my primary responsibility is to make sure that we think strategically and act tactically. Let me explain this. As the state historic preservation office, we have to take the long view, and we have to be aware of what is happening across the state. We take that long view and state-wide awareness, and use those to develop our office's long-term goals and objectives. At the same time, we need to act tactically. That means evaluating, every day, where there are opportunities to help preservation partners, while at the same time watching out for threats to the resources over which we have stewardship. I'm a big fan of the Taoist warrior/philosopher Sun Tzu, who wrote The Art of War around 500 BC. I find his writings very helpful in making management decisions because he had a terrific understanding of leadership.
What got you into the field of archaeology?
I was lucky enough to see Dr. Louis Leakey, a very famous paleoanthropologist, speak in 1966 when I was eight years old. At the time, Leakey had recently discovered the earliest human ancestor in East Africa, at a time when most early-man types were looking in Asia and Europe for our progenitors. As my Executive Assistant Vivian Pugh will attest, my memory typically is awful, but for some reason I still have a crystal-clear picture in my mind of Dr. Leakey--I was sitting right down in front of the auditorium. From then on, I was fascinated with what we learn about ourselves from our past and how we can apply that to the here and now. New York Post Editor Norman Cousins once observed that history is a vast early warning system - and he was right.
What is the most interesting thing you have ever found?
Archaeologists are fond of saying it's not what you find, it's what you find out. And that is certainly true. But don't let them kid you. Archaeology is a discovery science, and at heart we are field scientists who enjoy making discoveries. I think that is because the archaeological record puts you in touch - literally - with lives that are long past. The most gratifying discovery I've had a hand in since I've been here at DNR was the Spring Place God's Acre, or cemetery. Spring Place was a Moravian mission, located just down the road from what is today Chief Vann Historic Site. The location of the God’s Acre had been lost over the centuries since its abandonment in the wake of Cherokee Removal in 1838. It is the resting place of Chief Charles Renatus Hicks, last Chief of a unified Cherokee Nation. Hicks and many other Cherokees had served in Morgan's Regiment during the War of 1812 - a service which did the Cherokee Nation little good under President Andrew Jackson. Hicks died in 1827, and was buried at Spring Place along with Anna Rosina Gambold, a noted Moravian botanist and healer, and Dawnee Watie, a 12-year-old girl who had a distinguished lineage. An editorial comic at the time of our discovery showed us running a GPR (ground penetrating radar), which we used to find the graves, and the ghosts of Watie and Hicks watching us from the side and grinning ear to ear. One of the best days of my life.
What do you like to do outside the office?
I'm a devoted tai chi practitioner. Tai chi is a form of martial art, but it incorporates meditative aspects as well, so it's a great way to prepare yourself for the day ahead. started studying hatha yoga as well. I'm an avid gardener, paddler, and reader of biographies. When I'm not doing those things, I like to just hang out in my 1957 Decatur ranch house with my wife of 28 years and my dogs Coco, Sparky, and Nigel.